Ellie: We keep hearing how young people are excluded from the mainstream, that and they are not accurately represented in the media or given a voice in society. How much do you think citizen journalism and blogging can give young people a voice?
Libby: Blogging is a great way to find a voice and share issues that are important to you as a young person. I started out by writing my own blog but also pitching blogs to Blogging Students at Guardian Students. It was partly through that writing that I then came to work here after graduating. Any student can pitch a blog: (http://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2013/sep/23/blogging-students-how-to-pitch-and-blog). It’s a great way to get your writing out there to a global audience.
Having your own blog is also a great way to develop your own writing- the more you write the more you’ll discover what really interests you.
Ellie: In your opinion, what do you think is the most important issue affecting young people today?
Libby: There are lots of issues that affect young people. The one that I have done a lot of campaigning on is unpaid internships, so I’d mention that as it’s the subject I know the most about. Long unpaid internships cut off people who can’t afford to work for free and create a society where young people are held back from opportunities not because they’re not talented, but because they can’t afford to work for free.
Ellie: For hopeful journalists out there, do you think it’s best to get a variety of journalism-related work experience, or should you try and focus on the specific area you want to work in?
Libby: Being specific and having an area of specialism can help I think, but you can only really find out what that area of specialism is by trying out a few things. Short work experience placements or shadowing can help you do this. If you’re studying at university there may also be the option to focus on a particular area (e.g. sports) or specialism (e.g. digital).
Ellie: Are there any specific skills that would give aspiring journalists an advantage when looking for that all-important first job?
Libby: There are plenty of skills that I’m sure are helpful, but I think people underestimate how important it is to be nice – people want to work with people who fit in well in a team so I think it’s important that as well as building up specific journalism skills, to think about being a team-player too.
Ellie: Do you think, as is often suggested, that journalism/ newspapers are ‘dying out’?
Libby: I don’t think so – perhaps printed newspapers are but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. People still want to access news, it’s just important that organisations adapt to the new ways we access that news.
Ellie: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Libby: It’s been so short that so far I’d say getting my first job has been the highlight!
Ellie: Finally, if there was one piece of advice you wish you had been given when you were first starting out, what would it be?
Libby: I’m not sure really – I still feel like I’m starting out really so not sure I can answer this one, sorry!